Cold beer is the work of the devil. Fact.
Right, now that we've established a baseline - let's move forward. When one of my local breweries, the mighty Greene King, announced that they were brewing a beer to be served with or without a head and cold, I was not too chuffed to say the least. I wrote about it in this very blog.
I think what upset me most was that they had used a name that was virtually the same as a past classic beer that they brewed. I don’t have a problem with them brewing something to attract the young feminine market of twenty something males and females. The more people drinking real ale instead of Euro-fizz the better. I just felt that this cold beer was not for me, as surely when you drink beer you want to taste it, which you can’t do when it’s cold.
By way of a compromise I decided to buy the bottled version (which incidentally is not "real" but pasteurised) when it became available in the supermarkets. I've just got around to trying the bottle that I purchased before Christmas. This 4.2% golden ale takes on an extrovert approach right from the first shhhsh of opening the bottle. Along with the expelling of CO2 comes the wonderful smell of hops. You immediately feel comfortable. You pour the gloriously light amber coloured ale into the glass. It's hop, hop, hop all the way. On first tasting you get a subtle malt flavour building up to a pretty heavy golden syrup body, along with hints of citrus. After that, slight hamster bedding tastes, which is never a bad thing. The hoppy aroma stays with this bloody fantastic beer all the way through to the bottom of the glass. This beer is equally as good as bottled Exmoor Gold. I made sure that my bottle had started to warm up slightly, the room temperature side of cellar cool before I opened it. My recommendation to others would be to do the same.
Pleasantly surprised by this experience, I intend to go forth and seek out the real ale version if I can find it in one of the decent pubs in town. I think I know where I might get it. If I do find it in one of the better watering holes of Bury St Edmunds, I shall order a pint, without the head of course, and then order a pint of IPA as well. I shall drink the IPA first thus allowing the St Edmunds to un-chill. Arses to you Greene King, not even you can make me drink cold beer!